While certainly not unprecedented, it's somewhat rare for a major college football team to fire its head coach during the season. You see it in the NFL every year, but those guys are professionals and they adjust easier. These college coaches are usually why a recruit chooses a school.
But Maryland apparently didn't want to wait until after the season as Coach Randy Edsall has been canned. The Terps were routed by Ohio State on Saturday, 49-28, their third straight loss by at least three touchdowns. Edsall got the news on Sunday. Maryland is 22-34 (0-12 vs. ranked teams) and has never won a bowl game in its time under Edsall's direction. The school is almost certainly going to miss a bowl game this season.
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Maryland could be a good job, although it's always going to be a basketball-first school like Indiana (Terps might open this season at No. 1 in the polls). Obviously, it's in the Big Ten now and there's a lot of talent in the Washington, D.C./Virginia area. Plus, Maryland has its own superbooster like Oregon does in Phil Knight in Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, a former walk-on at Maryland. Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley will serve as the interim head coach. He was 2-26 in three seasons as a head coach at New Mexico. Some early names you hear as potential full-time replacements are former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, Temple's Matt Rhule, Memphis' Justin Fuente and San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich, a former Terps quarterback. Maryland is off this week.
Here are a few opening lines that caught my eye. And speaking of coaches getting fired...
Southern Cal at No. 14 Notre Dame (-5): I was dead wrong on the Trojans as I thought they would win the Pac-12 South Division with quarterback Cody Kessler's decision to return for his senior season. USC was stunned at home by Washington 17-12 last week and now probably has to win out to take the South -- the College Football Playoff is out of the question now. Obviously losing to Notre Dame won't affect the Pac-12 standings, but I'll be curious how focused those USC players are after the news that Coach Steve Sarkisian was fired on Monday after being forced to take a leave of absence on Sunday by AD Pat Haden. Sarkisian embarrassed the school by showing up drunk at a pep rally in August, and there are reports he showed up at practice Sunday half in the bag as well; there are even reports he was drunk during a game vs. Arizona State a few weeks ago. Haden really had no choice here. Obviously that is a prime job, and I know Haden would reach out to Chip Kelly at minimum. Haden has to make a home-run hire now or he's likely a goner. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton has been named interim coach. The pick: Notre Dame.
Virginia Tech at Miami (-6.5): I assure you that the "Fire Al Golden" banners will be flying over Sun Life Stadium in Miami this weekend. I wrote last week that Golden probably had to beat Florida State to keep his job. The Hurricanes played very well but lost to their arch-rivals for the sixth straight season -- and the star of that game was FSU running back Dalvin Cook, a guy Miami let get away out its own backyard. Now the only way I see Golden staying is if somehow Miami wins the ACC Coastal Division. That's not likely to happen with another loss here. The pick: Miami.
No. 8 Florida at No. 6 LSU (-7.5): Certainly the game of the day and we could see a rematch in the SEC Championship Game. The Gators should cruise to the SEC East title if they can win this one considering they essentially have a two-game lead over second-place Kentucky, which is only a game back in the loss column but lost to UF already. But there was some bad news on Monday for the Gators as starting quarterback Will Grier has been suspended the rest of the season after testing positive for PEDs. The redshirt freshman has thrown for 10 touchdowns, three interceptions and 1,204 yards. His completion percentage (65.8) and scramble yards (154) rank first in the SEC. That means former starter Treon Harris, who is nowhere near the passer Grier is, takes over. Harris started the season opener before giving way to Grier but was also suspended earlier this season for an undisclosed violation of team rules. This line immediately jumped a point when the Grier news broke. The pick: LSU (and "under" whatever total is posted -- it won't be very high).
Missouri at Georgia (-16): I think the UGA job might come open after this season, too, as the Dawgs have been huge disappointments and much of the fan base is fed up with Mark Richt. Georgia now has to win out to have any shot at reaching the SEC title game. But it will have to do so without star running back Nick Chubb, a former Heisman candidate. He suffered a significant knee injury in Saturday's loss at Tennessee, but it wasn't a torn ACL at least. Still, he will undergo surgery and probably is done for the season. Chubb was injured on the first play from scrimmage -- that injury obviously totally changed that how I would have bet on that game. Chubb entered the game having rushed for at least 100 yards in a school-record 13 straight games. He ranks second in the SEC this season with 745 rushing yards and has seven rushing touchdowns. The pick: UGA wins but I'll take the points.
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